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Whether you are looking for relaxation and the chance to unwind or for something more active including great hand's on fun for the younger family members then Kent is the place for you. With many award winning attractions featured together with the best known places to visit and many smaller less well known attractions.
Choose from enchanting gardens, historic houses, mysterious castles, cathedrals and country churches, fascinating museums, animal parks, steam trains, amazing maritime heritage and much more.
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Cranbrook Shopping
There are hundreds of independent retailers situated in the Kent, offering an array of worldwide brands to locally sourced products. Each and every one of them offer a customer service that just can’t be found on the high street.
Check the Cranbrook Directory
Cranbrook Museum
Cranbrook Museum set in a tranquil garden and housed in a delightful timber framed building dating from 1480 (which is an exhibit in itself) it contains over 6,000 exhibits encapsulating Cranbrook and the Weald of times past with survivals of Roman iron making and evidence of Cranbrook's prehistoric past. Explore Boot making and Broadcloth, Rope making, Hop picking. Costumes, Coinage, and old Kitchens with mangles coppers flat irons etc and all that went on in the past, don't miss the famous 19th Century African explorer Boyd Alexander's collection of British birds. And don't overlook the works of the highly talented Cranbrook Colony of Artists see how people lived in the 1800s through the eyes of Cranbrook's Artists-Hardy, O'Neill, Horsley, and Webster.
Cranbrook
Cranbrook is known as the Capital of the Kentish Weald
Cranbrook itself is L-shaped, with the church at the angle. Another local tradition claims that the figure of Father Time on the church tower comes down once a year to cut the grass in the churchyard, but the vicar will tell you he has never seen any evidence of it.
It was to Cranbrook, during the last century, that John Calcott Horsley RA came to live and George and Frederick Hardy, Thomas Webster and George O'Neil formed The Cranbrook Art Colony, which produced many of the best selling pictures of their day. Horsley himself was drawing master to Queen Victoria's children and is credited with the 'invention' of Christmas cards.
Cranbrook Market
Cranbrook Farmers Market takes place on the 4th Saturday of each month in the Vestry Hall in the centre of town from 9 till 12.
The stalls offer a wide variety of produce from the Weald of Kent and beyond including locally reared meat, fish and shellfish from Rye, jams and chutneys, delicious bread and cakes, scotch eggs, quiches, fresh fruit and vegetables as well as cut flowers and plants all grown locally.
While you browse the stalls Mid Kent Sharpening can sharpen all of your kitchen knives and garden tools and Home Gurrown Plants can give advice about gardening in the area and the best vegetable plants for your garden.
Cranbrook is a fantastic historic market town with many independent shops, lovely pubs, a museum and its own windmill open to the public and stone-grinding flour (April- September).
There is lots of free parking in the town centre car parks and easy wheelchair access to the side of the Vestry Hall.
Cranbrook Interactive Map
Dining in Cranbrook
Whether you want to relax over a cappuccino, enjoy a light lunch, have a fun family meal or indulge in a taste sensation, Kent caters for every occasion.
customer service that just can’t be found on the high street.
Check the Cranbrook Directory
Cranbrook
The village's losses and gains pretty much cancel each other out over the last century or so. The railway station has gone and so have the tracks. You wouldn't know now that there had ever been a rail service to the town. Several of the old pubs have given way to other kinds of trades. The tanyard has gone, replaced by a car park, so has the ropewalk, now a housing estate.
As already mentioned, this was once the capital of the Wealden woollen industry and for three hundred years it was one of the wealthiest and largest towns in Kent. When Queen Elizabeth I stayed at the George Hotel during her Royal Progress through Kent in 1573 the people of Cranbrook were able to present her with a silver gilt cup, and according to a dubious but persistent tradition, they rolled out a length of Kentish broadcloth a mile long so that Her Majesty could walk dryshod from Cranbrook to nearby Coursehorne Manor.
Cranbrook
Cranbrook Kent
West of Tenterden, off the A229, Cranbrook is known as the 'Capital of the Kentish Weald', this delightful little village, lies among gentle hills near the headwaters of the River Crane. Built from the profits of the cloth trade, and was once an important centre of the woollen industry. It derived its name from the crane birds which frequented the local stream. The town has weatherboarded and brick-and-timber houses and a church with a tall tower. Cranbrook is dominated by the restored 1814 seven-storey Union Mill, the largest working windmill in England.
Originally a little hamlet lying in the hills closeto the source of the River Crane, Cranbrook began to grow in the 11th century, and by the end of the 13th century it was sufficiently well established to be granted a market charter by Edward I. However, it was the introduction of wool weaving from Flanders, in the 14th century that really changed the town’s fortunes and, for the next few centuries, Cranbrook prospered. Several old buildings date back to this period of wealth including the church and the Cloth Halls and the winding streets lined with weatherboarded houses and shops.However, the industry began to decline and, by the 17th century, agriculture had taken over and, like other Wealden places, Cranbrook was transformed into a market town serving the needs of the surrounding area.Often dubbed the ‘Capital of the Kentish Weald’, one of the best places to start any exploration of the town is at the
Cranbrook Museum
that is housed in a museum piece itself. Dating back to 1480, the museum is a fine example of a timber-framed building that is held together by elaborate joints.Opened in 1974, the displays and exhibitions here cover many aspects of Wealden life,from agriculture and local crafts to Victorian and wartime memorabilia. Naturally the town’s reliance on the weaving industry is highlighted and, along with the collection of prints by the 19th-century Cranbrook colony of artists, there is a display of local birds,many of which are now rare. The parish church,
St Dunstan’s, is believed to have been built on the site of first a Saxon and then a Norman church. Known locally as the ‘Cathedral of the Weald’, and built between the 14th and 16th centuries, the size of this church reflects the prosperity of the town at the time. Even the stone font isof impressive proportions, designed for total immersion, its base featuring wooden bosses of Green Man. Above the porch, reached by a stone staircase, is a room known as ‘Baker’s Jail’ where, in the reign of Mary Tudor, Sir John Baker, sometimes known as ‘Bloody Baker’, imprisoned the numerous Protestants he had convicted there, to await their execution. Originally, the room was intended to hold church valuables. Elizabeth Paine, wife of the American philosopher Thomas Paine, is buried in the churchyard. Although St Dunstan’s church tower is tall,the town is dominated by the tallest smock mill in England, Union Mill, which is around70 feet high. Built in 1814, the windmill was fully restored in the 1960s and in 2003 and, wind permitting, it still grinds corn into the flour that is sold here.

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If you have wandered through the Kent Downs whether on foot, by horse, bicycle or car will have, at one time or another, pondered over the meaning of place names of towns , villages or hamlets that we normally take for granted in our everyday lives. Places such as Pett Bottom, Bigbury and Bobbing conjure up all manner of intriguing images as to the activities of former inhabitants, while others such as Whatsole Street, Smersole or Hartlip appear completely baffling.
Although most place names may appear at first sight to be random elements of words thrown together in no particular order, most are surprisingly easy to decipher with some elementary grounding in Old English. Over the centuries most of the Old English words have themselves corrupted and changed to appear as we know them today.
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Modern Kentish dialect shares many features with other areas of south-east England (sometimes collectively called "Estuary English"). Other characteristic features are more localised. For instance some parts of Kent, particularly in the north west of the county, share many features with broader Cockney.

A Dictionary of the Kentish Dialect and Provincialisms: in use in the county of Kent' by W.D.Parish and W.F.Shaw (Lewes: Farncombe,1888)
'The Dialect of Kent: being the fruits of many rambles' by F. W. T. Sanders (Private limited edition, 1950). Every attempt was made to contact the author to request permission to incorporate his work without success. His copyright is hereby acknowledged.
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Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England and Wales 1894 -1895

CRANBROOK PARISH

Cranbrook, a small town and a parish in Kent. The town stands in the Weald, on the river Crane, 6 miles S by W of Staplehurst, 14 S by E of Maidstone, and 48 from London. It has a station on the Paddock Wood and Hawkhurst branch of the S.E.R. It consists chiefly of one long street, is a seat of petty sessions, and has a post, money order, and telegraph office (S.O.), a bank, two chief inns, a market-house, a parish church, four dissenting chapels, a free grammar-school, a workhouse, and the Cramp Institute for lads and young men. Acreage of the civil parish, 10,374 ; population, 4046 ; of the ecclesiastical, 2971. The church is chiefly Decorated and Perpendicular English, has a western square embattled tower, was partly rebuilt in 1722, and contains monuments of the Robertses of Glassenbury and the Bakers of Sissinghurst. It was restored in 1879, and again in 1893. There is a handsome font of Gaen stone, and in the south aisle likewise a baptistery for immersion, a thing of very rare occurrence, there being supposed to be only one more in the kingdom. The grammar-school was founded in 1574 by Sir Simon Lynch, and has £135 from endowment. The building was enlarged and very much improved in 1885. Markets are held on alternate Wednesdays, and fairs on 30 May and 29 Sep. A broadcloth manufactory was introduced in the time of Edward III., flourished for ages so greatly as to give its masters and patrons high influence in county affairs, ceased about the beginning of the 19th century, and has left traces of itself in picturesque remains of old factories. The parish includes also the hamlet of Milkhouse Street, commonly called Sissing-burst Street. The surface presents all the characteristics of the Weald. Sissinghurst Castle was a stately mansion of the time of Edward VI. belonging to the Bakers, became toward the end of the 18th century a place of confinement for French prisoners, and now survives only in some picturesque fragments. There are mineral springs. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Canterbury; value, £270 with residence. Patron, the Archbishop of Canterbury. The vicarage of Sissinghurst is a separate benefice. Sir R. Baker, the author of the " English Chronicle," was a native.
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